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19 Jul

The spirit of the Dobsonian telescope

Posted by Optics Blog Experts on

Have had a lot of interest, lately, in Dobsonian telescopes such as the Meade Lightbridge and Celestron Starhopper. That’s the good news. The bad news, at least for a Dob lover like me, is that most customers quickly ask how to hook it up to a computer or how to add a motor drive.

Sorry, I can’t help but think that John Dobson, the creator of the Dobsonian telescope, would be shocked and upset to hear this. He originally created his design in the spirit that simple is better, that astronomy should be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their budget or financial status, and that you do not have to be a gadget freak to enjoy astronomy. Truly, a man after my own heart.

After a long day at work, slaving away at the computer, the last thing I want when I get out under the stars is another computer. Frankly, I find the whine and whirring of motors to be irritating and, more importantly, I find that high tech gadgets such as computers detract from the experience I seek. The night sky is beautiful to me, in part because it is a naturally quiet place and, in part, because it can be enjoyed without any equipment at all. The less I put between it and me, the better.

That’s me, though. I don’t claim that my way is right for anyone else. Each astronomer must decide what is best for themselves. All I ask, I guess, is that we leave the simple Dobsonian simple. If you want a high tech gadget laden telescope, go elsewhere.

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